Reframe Spotlight: Paths of Hate

This week's Reframe Collection highlight is Paths of Hate, an award-winning 2010 Polish animated short film featuring a metaphorical fight between two fighter pilots that illustrates the universal truth about hate. Paths of Hate is one of ten films included in the Oscar Short Animated Film shortlist. Check out a selection from a Q&A with director Damian Nenow conducted by Motionographer below.

Tell us about your background and what attracted you towards animation and filmmaking

I have loved drawing since I was a little boy. I got my very first computer and after just one month I was in love with computer graphics. Soon I discovered 3D animation -- I watched Tomek Bagiński’s Cathedral, nominated for the Academy Award. I immediately gave up applying for the Academy of Fine Arts and dashed to take entrance exams to the film school to the animation faculty. I have met there Piotr Dumała and other famous Polish artists. I have discovered this traditional animation world and it had a big influence on me. Since then I am always trying to combine modern CG tools with traditional techniques. There are hundreds of animators whom I admire: from Japanese anime directors such as Hideaki Anno, through Pixar block buster to Ardman's stop-motion films. It is almost impossible for me to point just one artist.

How did you came up with the idea for the short? What inspired you?

The idea of Paths of Hate appeared five years ago, when I was still studying at film school in Lodz. I produced two short animations earlier: sad and existential The Aim and Great Escape, a light and funny story about a sun from the weather forecast. After those two films I just felt the need to create something just as surrealistic but much more dynamic and serious. I have always been completely fascinated with everything that could fly. I could not imagine a subject more exciting than a duel of two fighter planes. I saw a photo taken probably in London during the Battle of Britain in 1940. There were hundreds of white lines left by fighting planes. Like scars on the sky. Then I thought that some of them were the only remains left after planes and pilots who didn't survived this fight. These white trails are the most important elements in Paths of Hate. I have named the film because of them. These are the paths, from the title.

Can you explain the artistic style of Paths of Hate? Who were your inspirations?

The only direct inspiration I had was a comic-book, Universal War One by Denis Bajram. Also Tomek Baginski's films had some influence on me. He always had his films stylized in some pictorial way. I wanted to go even further in the styling. I conducted a huge number of trials and tests. I checked several types of imagery, but the final choice was the cartoon. I tried recreating the character of those illustrations from Bajram's graphic novel in 3D. The cartoon-based styling proved to be the bull’s eye. The sketch line suited the surrealistic duel scenes perfectly, making the film feel fresh and making it stand out against dozens of photorealistic 3D animations. The technology itself was not overly complicated. The trick was to use old tools in a new way.

To rent or purchase Paths of Hate, please visit its page in the Reframe Collection.